On our last day in brisbane we went to see ...
Trip Start Sep 19, 2002
129Trip End Sep 22, 2003
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Where I stayed
Hervey Bay YHA
9th Jan we left Brisbane but not before my lovely hubby squeezed the last of the puss out of my buttock....aaahhh true love! We arrived in Hervey Bay mid afternoon and sat around the pool drinking beer and chatting to people who had been on Fraser Island already. At 5pm we had our briefing and met the other people in our truck (our Brummie mates Martin and Rachel, Flo - mad German fellow, Greg from Sydney and his girlie Andrea from Slovakia, and a couple from Sweden). We were shown a video about dingos and then had a chat with a guy who explained about where we could and couldn't drive and what to take etc. Then we had to decide what food and beer to take which is quite interesting when you've never met people before and Phil, Flo and Greg went shopping. When they got back we discovered that the Swedish couple had pulled out and so had enough stuff for 9 people between the 7 of us!!
10th January - MY BIRTHDAY!!! Up REALLY early to get the truck sorted and loaded and have another briefing about driving the 4wd on the island before heading down to the ferry where some dolphins were spotted in the water towards Fraser Island. Martin and Greg were our nominated drivers and skillfully negotiated the bumpy sand tracks towards the hard sand of the beach. Fraser island is the biggest sand island in the world and has no paved areas and is mostly wild bush with only the odd rocky outcrop. It also has washouts or little rivers all along the beach which you have to watch out for so we would all shout WASHOUT when we saw them coming. We stopped first at Lake Wabby and walked for about 45 mins through the bush looking out for snakes, dingos, spiders etc. We came to a clearing and were awestruck by the beauty of the lake which has dense forest on 3 sides and a big sand dune on the other which goes around to the beach. The water is freshwater and is therefore safe for swimming, unlike the beaches off Fraser which are shark infested and have dangerous rips. As we approached the water we could see little turtles and big catfish swimming about which was lovely. There are also little fish that nibble the dead skin from your feet! The edge of the lake slopes in steps so it's like a swimming pool and the freswater is clear with a green tinge in the shallower parts. It was great to cool off without getting swallowed by big waves as we have all the way up the east coast. Afterwards we found a shady place for lunch and had a good feast with some cold beers before heading to Elye creek. Here you can go up the boardwalk and get into the clear shallow water which drifts gently back towards the sea - great fun for people with inflatables. The final stop before camp was the Mareno wreck which was a passenger boat blown into land when it was being towed away for scrap. It's quite big and you can have fun taking silly pictures around it as it still looks very much like a boat rather than a pile of rusty iron. We passed Cathedral Cove and the coloured sands of the pinnacles and found a good secluded spot on a camp site. By the time we had farted about putting tents up and starting the cooking, it had started to get dark and no-one tells you that the pans are only capable of holding 5 sausages at once so we spent ages cooking enough sausages for 7 people! However we had a good meal of bangers and mash and introduced the non-Brits to instant mash which I can't say was a great winner but needs must when you are camping. The beer and wine went down well and all in all it was a good birthday party even if we did end up in bed at 9.30 as it was so dark!
The next day, Phil and I got up early and started cooking the remaining sausages for sarnies for breakfast and had to fight off the crows who managed to peck a couple. Then we headed further north up the island to Indian Heads where we walked out to the edge of the rocks for views over Fraser and the seas. We looked hard for the advertised sharks, rays and sea cows (dugongs) but saw nothing. Getting away from Indian Heads is quite difficult because of the soft sand but our drivers managed to get us out with ease and we were never officially stuck (one full rotation of the wheel without moving). Next stop was the champagne pools which are rock pools filled by high tide and therefore safe from wildlife. When we got in the water, we realised how strong the currents were as we could feel the pull even from the rock pools. We found a sheltered cave which was ideal for keeping out of the sun and watching all the people coming out of the water dripping with blood where they had got too close to the rocks and been thrown against them with the tide. Maybe that's why there are so many sharks about??!!
We were then a bit stuck as we needed to head south to make camp for the night but were not supposed to drive because of the tides (you are not supposed to drive within 2 hours of high tide). However, with darkness to consider and the ferry going the next day, we opted to chance it and take it steady and made it quite a way south before deciding to stop because of the light. We found one place but as we approached a woman screamed at us not to drive there as she had children there - sorry luv we wern't aware that you owned Fraser Island!!! Thankfully she let us turn around and we moved on further to a better spot on the beach. The wind had got up and there was soon sand everywhere which made cooking quite tricky but Phil and I, the designated cooks, coped admirably, with people coming back for seconds. Flo fashioned a shelter from some wood with his knife which kept the sand at bay for a while. We then spent the rest of the evening trying to finish every drop of alcohol we had and going off in packs into the woods to go to the loo as we were not on a proper campsite. This is always much more amusing when you are drunk!
The next day Phil and I woke early again and sat on the beach watching the waves and wondering what people were doing at home. We then had to rescue Flo who had spied a dingo in the distance and gone to photograph it - sensible lad that he is! We packed up our camp, now a tonne heavier for the sand, and made our way to lake Mackenzie. Flo, Phil and I sorted out the cool box and they carried it down to the lake (there was something not quite right about the division of labour....) As we walked through the clearing we were totally gob smacked at the beauty. We had seen postcards and thought that there was a beach somewhere that you couldn't get to but it was actually this lake. White sands and beautiful turquoise water so still and clear as it is part of the water table and has never flowed across land. Even though it was drizzling on and off, we all jumped in to the shallow edged lake and felt like we were in paradise. Lunch was quite sandy because of the wind but we didn't think we'd done too badly to get to our last meal before the sand got to us!
So we boarded the afternoon ferry and headed back to the hostel while the truck was inspected, thankfully with no damage. We all jumped in the spa to get clean of sand and had a few beers together to celebrate our fun weekend. Then it was time to say good bye to Rachel and Martin who were going on ahead of us and we wouldn't be seeing them again.
13th January coach trip to Rockhampton after a sleepless night - Hervey Bay YHA was broken into and the alarms went off waking everyone up!!